Okay, son,
Since I’m not where you are
And telecommunications weren’t the right medium,
Let me put this out there for you to know.

You are entitled to nothing.
People with resources are entitled
To what those resources allow.
You have your own resources,
So go get what you can.

Stop bitching about others.
Stop waiting for someone to fix your problems.
Stop denying the opportunity to risk it all.
Go get what YOU can.

Burning anger leaves dirty smoke,
Your fires are fuming in the wrong place.
Your passion, your ideals, YOU
Are not someone else, YOU do not share their fate,
YOU are in control of what happens with YOU.

Put the ‘tude away,
Stop being jealous of the opportunities others have
And make your own destiny become a reality
Or don’t, just stop bitching about it.

For the energy you waste on others
Precludes you becoming the best you can be
Fame, fortune, enlightenment, or whatever.
Take your dirty ass fossil energy
And find a cleaner way.

Getting after it,
Feet turning over,
Lungs accepting cool air,
Gravity being denied,
Friction a partner,
Not an obstacle
Leaving our little group
Flying through a conversation
Barely able to explore
Why people make excuses
For shortsighted effort
Where the pain and suffering
Make for excuses too easy
To explain away
Hard work.

That’s what I learned this morning,
There cruising up Sickle,
Letting my competitive nature rise
In a way an old person like me
Would probably be advised to deny,
All in an effort to chase down
A couple of guys
Who chose not to walk
At the top of the hill.
The game was to get there,
Not pass or win,
Just to know
I could
Work hard.

Don’t say, “Calm down,”
Who we are is who we are,
The way we act,
Is who we are,
And I’m competitive,
Wanting to do my best,
Living in a culture where failure
Is sort of accepted,
So far as I “feel good” about it,
But I hate to lose
Because I think I didn’t work hard enough,
Unless of course, the situation or the opponent
Just kicks my ass outright.
I can live with that.

For a moment,
Because I don’t want that on me, Ricky Bobby,
I want to know I’m doing my best,
Pushing to the point where a little hill like Sickle
Can kiss my butt
As I keep running through the crest
Not giving those guys behind me a chance
To pass while I feel sorry for myself;
Or mollify my ego with a half-assed pride
That is a better called a false bravado.
I want to accomplish stuff,
Exhaling the noxious bullshit spewed by others and
Filling my lungs with the deepest breaths of oxygen
Hard work delivers.

Grit.

It’s days like this
When I miss the James River,
Its wide crossing,
Its still flow,
The way it told the forecast,
The breeze it partnered with,
The way time slowed by its presence.

It’s days like this
When I wish I’d never picked up a ball,
Never experienced what winning felt like,
The joy,
The ego rush,
The adrenaline,
The way everything felt right after a victory.

It’s days like this
When I can’t fathom ten more years,
A decade seems so far away,
But I know it will be here too quickly,
So much will have changed by then,
Yet, I bet work will still be just as it was
Today.

Hanging with my son today,
A rabbit hole of self-discovery,
One and the same,
A hanging and realization
That he and I are cut from the same mold,
Only he’s much smarter than me.

We braved the Easter world of new diners
In fancy new buildings,
Of course, it wasn’t up to diner standards,
Or maybe our palettes are changing,
For mine was overly fried, sloppily arranged,
His barely adequate for dipping
And the waitress’ hickey,
Offered a little too much information.

Off to a music store,
A chain of six-string proportion
Where the stores out west and the local outlet
Seem to have a liberal employee sharing policy
That only serves to demonstrate
Having a skill, be it musician, gamer, athlete
Means nothing when providing service
Or whoring every serviceable offering from the store.

Throughout the philosophy of life raged,
My simple, maybe even rudimentary wisdom,
Put up against his limitless vision,
Unbounded by the chaste philosophical stoicism
I’ve created to protect myself from the practical life
I was rebelled against in school.
A fork became payola money,
A spoon was the gatekeepers of creative opportunities,
A straw wrapper, torn and tattered, was a band hoping to make it,
And rising from the table, a knife
Enlightenment, genius, higher planes of thinking,
That creatives hope to achieve
Without needing a knife or fork.

Our debate was more Sienfeldian than Silva,
As we tried to figure out
How to have this and that
Without bending the knife
To satisfy forks and spoons.
My truth is,
I do whatever the eff I think is good,
Like it or don’t
Just be nice if you don’t
And sincere if you do.
Then again, my creative obstacles are not driven by forks or spoons,
Perhaps age has helped me come to grips with that.

But then, it got real for me,
Not philosophical, but sort of spiritual,
Am I allowed to say “sort of” on Easter,
We listened to some music from Africa, not Toto,
Solid, mind stopping, conversation halting music,
Then came, Comfortably Numb,
I drifted off in that good way guitars bring a nod,
Only to be pushed further into passenger seat ambivalence
By Spiders, and the hyped distortion of Wilco
Then came, Bad Love from Clapton,
I faded into guitar solitude,
Dropped further by She’s Gone, a Michael Hill’s Blues Mob anthem
And finally massaged back to a non-drooling state
By Europa, the Santana version.

That could have ended my day right there,
Except that I had a rambling brain,
Something triggered my heart rate,
It jumped without any stimulation, probably caffeine or sugar
From the diner or just maybe
I was rising from the cloud of contentment
That is such a poison to growth and development.
Each song had put me closer to euphoria,
Each one leaving me with visions of the guitar guys
Loving what they do,
Having the music stop their time
While allowing us to experience every second, beat, note,
Whatever,
And feel our auditory erotic version of their ecstatic moments.

Being the musical village idiot,
I knew I would never achieve that feeling with a Strat, but,
Why couldn’t I find a higher awareness through running?
Why not become so immersed in what I’m doing from a mental standpoint
That my physical experience rivals those I have
Listening to Floyd, Clapton, Santana, and the others.
My heart was beating so fast, I took a couple of breaths,
Knowing that my challenges are to push the mental, emotional, and spiritual boundaries,
To get over the just running, losing weight, trying not to get hurt, each
Experiences I’ve been settling for.
I need to exercise in a guitar solo energy,
Wrapped in time, each muscle tuned to the next move, producing results
That takes me somewhere else.

Game on…

What was left of a full moon
Peeked through a hodgepodge of clouds
Making the night kind of light.

Before me were hills, lots of hills,
Some the provenience of the good mother
Others clearly residing in my tormented dominion.

I swung my legs back and forth attempting to loosen
Both hamstrings and apathy
For I’ve lost a drive to reclaim youthful distances.

Clearly, the hills would have to be conquered,
Especially, the mental ones,
If the run would be of any benefit.

So in the emerging light of morning
I took off with steps so awkward
That doubt was barking right away.

The first hill, at least from the good mother,
Rose quickly and with a sharp incline
That drove my heart rate up.

Thoughts of demons past, the ones that never go away,
Brought their sniping memories in force
Somehow I dodged their bullets and headed downhill to the pond.

Where the second hill rose for nearly a mile,
A steep incline in the middle brought to surface naysayers,
The self-generated angry thoughts questioning purpose and pride.

Somehow I ran away from those, too.
Through an abandoned lot, past the beer distributor, by the social club,
And heading down the long hill, I found my way.

Running on the railroad tracks, fighting the rocks,
Worrying about a train,
Just chugging along towards the rising sun in the east.

The little spur changed my negativity,
Putting me on track to accept another long hill,
One I would have never tried twenty minutes prior.

Few cars were out this early,
The road was typical Pennsylvania with few places to bail,
But it’s peak called out my doubt, challenged my commitment.

Game on, lean it, chopping steps,
Breathe, breathe, breathe,
Relax, breath, relax…done.

It’s there, at the top of McFarlan
Where the consequences of training came to light,
All the miles, all the meals, all the meditations.

I’m ready for this race,
Ready to get out there, turn off my brain, and just run.
Ready to be done.

The rest of this run was mostly a downhill cruise,
Until I got back to other side of hill number one,
The one with the demons howling their made up speech.

I saw them there again, Thing 1 and Thing 2,
Each taunting, each trying to add tension to my easy going way,
I blasted them with southern styled middle fingers and smiled.

Maybe it was Emerson who suggested I rely on me,
Perhaps this early run, when the moon and mood conspired against me
Was the sort of resurrection I needed before this marathon.

I willed it.
I got it.
Now, it’s up to me to do something with these realizations.

What is it,
Cortisol,
Boredom,
Stress?
Who knows?
Thank God,
Or whomever
Was the one
Coming up with
Life’s logarithms,
The cosmos
Offering suggestions,
Distractions,
Things to take away
The swelling,
Staving off the nothing time,
Relieving annoyances
In stuff that probably
Is more distraction
Than entertainment,
Certainly less about satisfaction
Than ho-hum whatever.